26 Apr

Bedford Departure Marks End Of Era

David Bedford

The Virgin London Marathon will now enter a new era following Sunday's record-breaking event, the last with David Bedford at the helm as Race Director. The moustachioed icon of UK endurance running is stepping down after first joining the London marathon organisers in 1986.

The mantle will now be handed to Hugh Brasher, son of race founder Chris Brasher and Bedford's own predecessor. Bedford, 62, will instead take a part-time role with the organisation and spend more time with his family.

Bedford first came to prominence with his own running exploits in the 1970s, when he held the world record in the men's 10,000m and was one of the most distinctive and recognised faces in the sport with his masses of facial hair and aggressive front-running tactics.

Since his association with London marathon the race has grown hugely regularly raising £50m annually for charity and with over 35,000 participants. It was apt that his last as race director was the biggest in the race's 31 year history with a record 36,705 finishers.

He said: "This was my last London marathon as race director. I am delighted that Hugh Brasher will take over. We had two great champions who ran superbly in difficult conditions with swirly headwinds.

"Wilson Kipsang just missed the men's course record but it was an absolutely outstanding, exceptional performance, and we saw Mary Keitany break the women's African and Kenyan record."

He also picked out the restored Cutty Sark tea clipper ship and its return as a landmark on the London marathon course as a special element of his last event as race director. He said: "From what I saw the Cutty Sark looked absolutely magnificent.

"From what I could see, the £47 million they've spent was worth all the years we've had to go round it. It was great to see a London Marathon icon back on the course."